Newman Center Honors Murder Victim With Award In His Honor
The double murder trial of Ashley Hunter will continue Tuesday after the Memorial Day weekend
FARGO, ND– The double murder trial of Ashley Hunter will continue Tuesday after the Memorial Day weekend.
It is on the minds of many students who knew one of the victims.
Sam Traut was a leader to many at the Newman Center, a Catholic Students’ group right across the street from NDSU.
“So this is Sam’s picture from when he graduated from North Dakota State University,” said Father James Cheney, Pastor at the NDSU Newman Center.
It’s a place that prides it’s self in being a “home away from home” while students are on their journey through college.
“He was just on fire for the Lord and wanted to share that with as many people as he could,” said Father Cheney.
In June of 2015, it became a place of mourning and remembrance when Traut was found murdered at his house, right behind the church.
“We offered a mass at the site of the crimes, so that was hard for us, but brought a lot of healing,” recalled the pastor.
Traut was a bible study leader.
Those who knew him say he gave 120% in everything he did.
“Right before his tragic murder he was in South America on a mission trip,” said Father Cheney.
Even when it came to bike races the church does for a fundraiser each year.
“We were pulling about 22–23 miles an hour. Then he had a tire rub and he wiped out,” Father Cheney said.
Sam just never gave up.
“Ten minutes later he had gotten up and he had pedaled back. I could not believe that about Sam! That was the thing about him, he pedaled back,” Cheney said.
Not only is Sam remembered through these stories and the friendships but he’s helping recognize students who are making a difference
“Every year we give out the Samuel Traut Outstanding Leadership Award,” Father Cheney said.
The award gives stand out students a #500 scholarship.
“We really miss him,” Cheney said.
Throughout the trial of Traut’s accused killer, the Newman community has been praying for the Traut family.
“We’ve been praying for them, we’re also praying for the conversion of Ashley Hunter, and we’re praying ultimately for the triumph of good over evil,” the pastor explained.
When the new Newman Center facility is built, Father Cheney says students can expect to see Sam’s picture on the wall.
There is no set date yet for when the new center will be built.
Hunter is also accused of killing Clarence Flowers.
Week two of his trial begins on Tuesday.
To find out more about the Sam Traut Outstanding Leadership Award, click here.